Almost 100 youth spent the last days of 2018 working in the B.C. Legislature in Victoria to plan the upcoming year for the 90th British Columbia Youth Parliament (BCYP).
Langley’s Charlotte White is among the 97 young people, aged 16 to 21, who make up the BCYP–a youth service organization that stands by the motto “youth serving youth.”
“It’s a service organization primarily. The friends I made are really, really great and that drew me in. I love the projects we put on,” said White.
“I think we have a reputation–youth specifically for being apathetic towards government. While that’s not true, it helps if youth are involved and know what’s going on and are aware of the system we live in and can contribute to that system.”
White is a graduate from Langley Christian High School and is now studying science at the University of British Columbia.
This is the third year White has participated in Youth Parliament, and this year, she was elected as Attorney General.
Her duties include things like drafting legislation, collecting Private Members’ Resolutions, and staying on top of the House scheduling.
During the week of Dec. 27 to Dec. 31, youth spent hours at the B.C. Legislature planning the upcoming year for the BCYP, observing parliamentary procedures, and debating a range of government legislation.
“One of the biggest things it’s helped me with is learning professional skills. Especially being on cabinet this year, I ‘ve learned how to communicate with people, set deadlines for myself, and get work done. It’s been a really great learning experience for me in that way,” said White.
The main pillars of BCYP’s community service plan are hosting Camp Phoenix–an overnight summer camp for children– and hosting Regional Youth Parliaments (RYPs)
RYPs give youth aged 14 to 18 the chance to gain hands-on experience with the BCYP governance.
During the week, the group also debated Private Members’ Resolutions on a range of topics. If passed, the resolutions are communicated to elected officials in the hopes of influencing government policy.
This year’s BCYP passed resolutions that supported expanding the B.C. high school curriculum, bringing ride sharing to B.C., and reducing the food waste created at grocery stores.
“I’ve learned a lot about how our parliamentary system works and in B.C., Social Studies 10 gives you a glimpse of that but there’s nothing quite like being there,” added White.
For more information on BCYP visit https://bcyp.org/